The Purification of the Conscience
Hebrews 9:13-14
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:…

The offerings in the temple could not have satisfied the conscience; the offerings of Christ do. There are two aspects of sin which trouble the conscience. Sin by religious teachers is thought of as disturbing our relations with God. It stops our convictions, and prevents His Fatherly grace from coming to us. Another aspect of sin takes a place among the forces in the life of man to swell the sum of evil examples, to make virtue more difficult, and vice more natural. No repentance can ever recall what we have done, or make it cease to be a source of evil in the world. There is danger in the other extreme, but Christ is able to deal with the conscience, and set us right in our relations with God. There are principally three proposals for setting the relation right. They are — by man's contribution, by God's acceptance, and by Christ's transforming power. In the early ages of religion, when outward circumstances were held to be an indication of the favour or disfavour of God, the idea of propitiation took shape. They brought Him what they prized most, and supposed that He would prize it the same, and continued in this until the return of sunshine assured them that the Deity's wrath was assuaged. On the other side, some imagine that sin lapses after a term of years, or that by a certain system disorder in some things is balanced by the order in others. It is not that twenty years ago a certain deed was done: it is that in your sin you disclosed something in you which remains in you still. Let the same circumstances recur and your weakness reappears. In a very different age there grew up another theory of setting man right with God. Man had received life and power from God, and had used them against Him, and so they thought on the principle of displaying compensation against that which has to be compensated for. Thus there grew up acceptation, a sort of diminutive of acceptation. God takes it as the best that can be given, and declares the account clear. But conscience will not accept such assurance. It still recognises sin clinging to it, and so long as that sin is there, conscience is not cleansed. The third proposal is in the transforming power of Christ. The blood of Christ cleanses the conscience. "If any man be in Christ," says Paul, "he is a new creature." Paul's writings are full of similar verses, in which he expresses the reasonable and joyful satisfaction of conscience. He says that sin is forgiven to all men in Christ Jesus. The relation that ought to exist between God and the soul is then restored.

(W. M. Macgregor, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

WEB: For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh:

The Purging of the Conscience
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